FTC Approves Investigative Measures for Enforcement Priorities

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On July 1, 2021, the FTC commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a package of omnibus resolutions that instructed the agency’s personnel to employ fact-finding “compulsory process” devices, such as subpoenas and civil investigative demands, to scrutinize seven areas that have been designated as enforcement priorities.  The enforcement areas of interest encompass: conduct affecting workers and small businesses; COVID-19-related damages; healthcare organizations, specifically hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacy benefits managers; mergers, both in-progress and already consummated; repeat offenders; and technology companies and digital platforms.  

Compulsory process mandates that a party under investigation, or a related party, provide the commission with information, testimony, documents, or data.  While compulsory process approval is sometimes limited to a particular investigation, the newly-approved resolutions enable its use in the specified industries or situations on a continuing basis for 10 years, except if revoked earlier by the Commission.  However, for any individual investigative document to be issued, it still must first be signed by a commissioner.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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